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  1. #101

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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    This last paragraph especially seems to be making the point that atheists can't be moral, that their claims to "naturalism, humanism, and other positive positions" are "purely an intellectualized exercise or game". The previous paragraph challenges someone to "evidence that they are not", and to show that either doctrine (presumably one is atheism), "is a lived reality and can be shown to have benefits both to the individual . . . and their neighbours".
    Hmm, yeah, what about that? Seems you were totally wrong about that.

    Blackmail's reply simply takes up this challenge, showing how his own world view, including atheism, is no intellectual exercise but is lived out in his life, and brings benefit to others. If Lark did not want such an answer, and was not prepared to provide his own answer, he should not have asked the question. Much good is certainly done in the world in the name of religion. Sometimes, though, religious doctrines stand in the way of what would alleviate the suffering and improve the earthly lot of others. This is simlar to when politicians make decisions based on ideology, rather than on what will most effectively accomplish their practical goals.
    Really not surprised that you guys are still beating the "Lark simply shouldnt post" drum. There's an emoticon for that:-



    So, back on topic, since I'm pretty sure people dont visit to discuss me.

  2. #102
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nicodemus View Post
    Where do you disagree with him?
    Oh a little theological nuance here and there. Nothing you would understand.

  3. #103
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    This is rather moot anyway since belief is not a choice. Knowledge really isn't a choice either - learning and trying to gather information may be some kind of choice, but that's just trying to get the knowledge to 'click'. Once it does and you gain comprehension, you obtain the knowledge or belief.

    For example if I said that I can jump from my front porch to the moon, you'd probably not be inclined to believe it, even if believing it had great benefits. One might claim to believe that I can jump to the moon and call it faith in a bid to obtain said benefits, but that is only a claim and there's a good chance that the person still doesn't actually believe it.

    It's also the same if one were to actually see me do it and jump to the moon. They might choose to be there to watch and obtain the knowledge, but once one is looking they don't 'choose' to know it once it is seen - the knowledge is just automatically obtained. This is why secrets can be ruined and also why you're not supposed to tell somebody about their surprise party because you're actually forcing them to obtain knowledge that they shouldn't or might not want to have.

  4. #104
    Senior Member Nicodemus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Peguy View Post
    Oh a little theological nuance here and there. Nothing you would understand.
    No need to put yourself down. I am confident your didactic skills are up to the task.

    In any case, you could give an answer for the benefit of the whole forum. You see, I am not the only one intrigued by the originality of your thought. Nor am I the only one interested in a dissection of Coyne's views.

  5. #105
    Emperor/Dictator kyuuei's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    The better advice, then, is not to take science with a grain of salt - it's predictive success is to significant for that - but rather to understand the limitations of what it can do, what questions it can answer. Science does not and should not make pronouncements on spiritual matters, like is there a god, why was the universe created, what is our purpose in life. Similarly, religion should not make pronouncements on matters in the material world, like how old is the earth, or how have humans and other species developed.
    Why do you insist on correcting every single facet of what I say to tailor it to the WAY you understand things? We are not disagreeing here, but the way I explain it and understand it is different from yours and I feel like you somehow keep invalidating what I'm saying just because of it.

    Take it with a grain of salt. "take something lightly, do not take it seriously" Do not have science being the end-all see-all to the world because it's too narrow minded. Don't be so serious about it.

    I'll mention here that I am not a debater by nature. So no, I don't really enjoy debating the semantics of how I say every single tiny thing.. but I will tell someone how their overall point is perceived, and why I perceived it that way. This is just getting extremely nitty and picky..

    To the extent that the boy is actually an atheist, then yes, his position is based on faith as much as the Christian's is. The part that stood out to me was when the boy took the Christian's claim, "you can't know anything with certainty unless you know everything with certainty", and pointed out that, by implication, to know with certainty God exists, one must then know everything. This is the internal inconsistency that really made the man look foolish, and he could not explain, and is completely independent of the boy's beliefs.
    Nothing in the video claimed that the dude would instantly be a biologist when he turned to God. Or that he'd know who Jack Ripper was. The guy said he'd know everything. And everyone knows Christians have several ways to interpret their own claims. Having access to absolute certainty in what drives the core of your life changes your knowledge and interpretation of the world dramatically. You can suddenly 'know' you *can* do something vs not being certain about it before. Not that I think that is what he meant, but it certainly isn't this overly dramatic "OMG WHAT A MORON" reaction for me. I say "Everything sucks!!" all the time, and I clearly don't mean every single thing in the entire world. I always say, "Omg what am I doing with my life?!" but I already clearly know. Sure, this is a debate, about a particularly volatile subject, but he doesn't seem to be a guy that's particularly great at semantics either.

    They really picked the wrong guy for the job on the religious end. Which is why I say that video was there just to ensure some sort of witty 'victory' for atheists. The guy was not well spoken enough to be a 'representative' for Christianity in a debate that's so centered around tiny details and how you word things.

    And even so, despite the kid making a claim that makes sense, he is still overall a subject of faith. He's over here arguing about certainty when his own certainty comes from something he has no absolute evidence for. He is demanding evidence from the very beginning even though he has none for himself. This is what I am saying throughout all of these long-winded posts.

    The highlighted is not a change in logic, just a change in how people perceive and value it. What is logical to two different groups, or at two different times, will be different, because in each case there will be different inputs to the process. This is no more subjective than the fact that my SO and I take different sized shoes. That is the beauty and utility of logic, that it enables each person to find the right solution in their specific circumstances, while being applicable in all circumstances. (Just as I can use a ruler to measure any linear measurement within its range.)
    But logic is *not* a ruler. A centimeter has been a centimeter since the time of its conception. You will always have a definite answer. Logic changes with the times and with the culture. It is logical to understand another culture before visiting it so you don't give them a thumb's up and piss them off in the process. While this is pretty stable for us... at one time it was very logical to simply conquer other countries. It was only logical, despite what other people wanted, to keep bloodlines pure and to marry within other wealthy families even if they really did like a guy from outside of their social circle. In fact, that was so logical at one point in history, that we make a ton of medieval movies depicting it as being a struggle against what is logical and settled into the world. Logic is humanity's attempt to find a higher thinking.. to make the most sense of a situation and to take the most emotion and subjectivity out of an equation. But we are emotional, subjective beings. We won't get to that absolute zero. And the way we think has changed dramatically with time. Logic is much more subjective than a ruler. And honestly, nothing you say is going to change that for me. Logic is the shoes in your equation. And no one is just one size of shoe. Logic is constant in our lives as a concept, but still changing with time.

    This last paragraph especially seems to be making the point that atheists can't be moral, that their claims to "naturalism, humanism, and other positive positions" are "purely an intellectualized exercise or game". The previous paragraph challenges someone to "evidence that they are not", and to show that either doctrine (presumably one is atheism), "is a lived reality and can be shown to have benefits both to the individual . . . and their neighbours".
    I know. And not once did Lark accuse blackmail of being amoral. It is a controversial stance for him to take, but no more controversial than other stances people make on the forum. I am not arguing whether Lark is right or wrong, or whether Blackmail! has a point or not. He clearly does, and said more than the personal attack. But he still made a personal attack towards Lark. He could have left out the personal attacks and his message would still have been just as effective in its delivery.
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  6. #106
    Mojibake sprinkles's Avatar
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    @kyuuei

    Centimeters are only standardized because society got together and said it shall be standardized. Prior to standardized systems, measurements varied by culture and even by individuals - hand widths and such.

    And even with standardized measures, they did not become precisely calibrated as they are now until the more modern era. Even the classical Chinese units of measure - chi, bu, and li, became slightly longer or shorter over time. The chi in the Shang dynasty for example was equivalent to 0.1675 meter of today, while in the Qing dynasty it had gone all the way up to 0.3+ meter.

    Edit:
    And even now measurement varies a little. Tape measures eventually stretch out for example, and other measuring tools wear. When I worked in a factory we had to have our tape measures checked by QC every so often by measuring them against a precisely cut hardened metal block of standard length and they'd etch a number onto the back of the tape to clear it as accurate enough.

  7. #107
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Logic:

    1. Reasoning conducted or assessed according to strict principles of validity.
    2. A particular system or codification of the principles of proof and inference.
    "Everyone has a plan till they get punched in the mouth." Mike Tyson
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  8. #108
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    Why do you insist on correcting every single facet of what I say to tailor it to the WAY you understand things? We are not disagreeing here, but the way I explain it and understand it is different from yours and I feel like you somehow keep invalidating what I'm saying just because of it.

    Take it with a grain of salt. "take something lightly, do not take it seriously" Do not have science being the end-all see-all to the world because it's too narrow minded. Don't be so serious about it.

    I'll mention here that I am not a debater by nature. So no, I don't really enjoy debating the semantics of how I say every single tiny thing.. but I will tell someone how their overall point is perceived, and why I perceived it that way. This is just getting extremely nitty and picky..
    Then I'll tell you how your remarks come across. Statements like "do not take it [science] seriously" seem to trivialize it and discount its significance and utility. The space program, cell phones and computers, the many medical advances we take for granted today, these came about because at least some people over the years have taken science very seriously. Part of the problem is that too many people don't take it seriously, and therefore misunderstand what it is about and how it works.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    They really picked the wrong guy for the job on the religious end. Which is why I say that video was there just to ensure some sort of witty 'victory' for atheists. The guy was not well spoken enough to be a 'representative' for Christianity in a debate that's so centered around tiny details and how you word things.

    And even so, despite the kid making a claim that makes sense, he is still overall a subject of faith. He's over here arguing about certainty when his own certainty comes from something he has no absolute evidence for. He is demanding evidence from the very beginning even though he has none for himself. This is what I am saying throughout all of these long-winded posts.
    First, I cannot tell just from the excerpt posted, exactly what the boy's beliefs are. People are assuming they are the same as his father's, which may be true. His questions and criticisms are not invalidated by his own beliefs, though, whatever they are. Yes, this guy was not the best speaker for Christianity. I have found, however, among the many Christians I know, that it can be very hard for them to explain their beliefs to a non-Christian, or even to someone like me who used to be a Christian, but now sees things from "the outside". There are so many assumptions inherent in Christianity (perhaps in any faith, but this is where I see it). The answer to one question includes loaded words that the speaker assumes the listener knows and interprets the same way, otherwise the explanation doesn't make sense. Asking for those words to be explained goes down another layer, etc. Many faithful and well-meaning Christians, not being pushy, just answering questions for a friend, quickly run into territory they can't explain because they never thought about it that way. The less well-meaning, or perhaps secure, will get testy about it, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    But logic is *not* a ruler. A centimeter has been a centimeter since the time of its conception. You will always have a definite answer. Logic changes with the times and with the culture. It is logical to understand another culture before visiting it so you don't give them a thumb's up and piss them off in the process. While this is pretty stable for us... at one time it was very logical to simply conquer other countries. It was only logical, despite what other people wanted, to keep bloodlines pure and to marry within other wealthy families even if they really did like a guy from outside of their social circle. In fact, that was so logical at one point in history, that we make a ton of medieval movies depicting it as being a struggle against what is logical and settled into the world. Logic is humanity's attempt to find a higher thinking.. to make the most sense of a situation and to take the most emotion and subjectivity out of an equation. But we are emotional, subjective beings. We won't get to that absolute zero. And the way we think has changed dramatically with time. Logic is much more subjective than a ruler. And honestly, nothing you say is going to change that for me. Logic is the shoes in your equation. And no one is just one size of shoe. Logic is constant in our lives as a concept, but still changing with time.
    But the definite answer from the ruler changes with what you measure. Same with logic. Logic doesn't change with times and culture, its output does since the inputs change. No, even in the past it was not always logical to conquer other countries, but then people often do the illogical, and if those people are the rulers, then everyone else follows suit. Same about marriage. Humans could feed only political considerations into the process, before we learned about the genetic problems of interbreeding, etc. Also, one can choose to value personal happiness over family duty, or vice versa. The evolution in this perspective over time is a change in values, not logic. Plug the revised values into the logical process, and a different outcome will result. Logic is the basic concept of "shoe". Put in different inputs, like size, purpose, even personal taste, and the resulting actual shoe will look different. But the concept of "shoe" is almost timeless, and we readily recognize even prehistoric footwear for what it was.

    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post
    I know. And not once did Lark accuse blackmail of being amoral. It is a controversial stance for him to take, but no more controversial than other stances people make on the forum. I am not arguing whether Lark is right or wrong, or whether Blackmail! has a point or not. He clearly does, and said more than the personal attack. But he still made a personal attack towards Lark. He could have left out the personal attacks and his message would still have been just as effective in its delivery.
    I don't see the personal attack here. Lark asked a general question; blackmail provided his own specific answer, and challenged Lark to do the same.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Hmm, yeah, what about that? Seems you were totally wrong about that.
    OK, then please tell us how we should interpret your statements.

    Unless we are going to assume blackmail is unique in the world, he did a pretty good job of showing where your generalizations about atheists, morality, and action vs. intellectualization break down. (But then, since you tell me I misread your remarks, maybe you didn't mean any of that at all.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Really not surprised that you guys are still beating the "Lark simply shouldnt post" drum.
    Lark simply shouldn't post . . . if he doesn't want people to respond to what he writes.

    The premise of a forum like this is that one wants responses, and the interaction it produces. But to each his own.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  9. #109
    Senior Member Mal12345's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    First, I cannot tell just from the excerpt posted, exactly what the boy's beliefs are. People are assuming they are the same as his father's, which may be true. His questions and criticisms are not invalidated by his own beliefs, though, whatever they are. Yes, this guy was not the best speaker for Christianity. I have found, however, among the many Christians I know, that it can be very hard for them to explain their beliefs to a non-Christian, or even to someone like me who used to be a Christian, but now sees things from "the outside". There are so many assumptions inherent in Christianity (perhaps in any faith, but this is where I see it). The answer to one question includes loaded words that the speaker assumes the listener knows and interprets the same way, otherwise the explanation doesn't make sense. Asking for those words to be explained goes down another layer, etc. Many faithful and well-meaning Christians, not being pushy, just answering questions for a friend, quickly run into territory they can't explain because they never thought about it that way. The less well-meaning, or perhaps secure, will get testy about it, too.
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  10. #110
    Gotta catch you all! Blackmail!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyuuei View Post

    Take it with a grain of salt. "take something lightly, do not take it seriously" Do not have science being the end-all see-all to the world because it's too narrow minded. Don't be so serious about it.

    I'll mention here that I am not a debater by nature. So no, I don't really enjoy debating the semantics of how I say every single tiny thing.. but I will tell someone how their overall point is perceived, and why I perceived it that way. This is just getting extremely nitty and picky..
    Let's have a "nitty" and "picky" answer then.

    Let's go back to Africa for instance...

    What do think of the questions I asked before:

    1/ Do you think that, in a slum, considering the limited budget people have, a church or a mosque is a better investment than a new pipe to bring drinkable water?

    2/ To save the lives of people in a slum, would you rather rely on the bible, on the local Catholic priest, or on sanitation and medicine, even if the latter are implemented by an amoral atheist urbanist?

    Please, tell us what you really think.
    Sanitation and Medicine are the byproducts of science, of careful observations made by countless generations of scientists (think to John Snow or Louis Pasteur for instance). Even the concept of "drinkable water" is.

    Do you think nonetheless that sanitation or medicine should be taken "with a pinch of salt" when your job is to save human lives?
    Imagine you were standing in my shoes. What would you do? What would you trust?



    Not that I think that is what he meant, but it certainly isn't this overly dramatic "OMG WHAT A MORON" reaction for me. (...)

    They really picked the wrong guy for the job on the religious end. Which is why I say that video was there just to ensure some sort of witty 'victory' for atheists. The guy was not well spoken enough to be a 'representative' for Christianity in a debate that's so centered around tiny details and how you word things.
    Indeed, the guy is a moron. Whether he's a Christian, or whatever, he's still a moron.




    But logic is *not* a ruler. A centimeter has been a centimeter since the time of its conception. You will always have a definite answer. Logic changes with the times and with the culture.
    Logic is a ruler, and its basic laws will not change according to the local culture. They never have.
    I have already taught on four different continents, and I've never felt that I had to change the scientific content of my lectures in order to be understood by my students.

    Science, logic and mathematics are an universal language. It works everywhere.

    And not once did Lark accuse blackmail of being amoral. It is a controversial stance for him to take, but no more controversial than other stances people make on the forum. I am not arguing whether Lark is right or wrong, or whether Blackmail! has a point or not. He clearly does, and said more than the personal attack. But he still made a personal attack towards Lark. He could have left out the personal attacks and his message would still have been just as effective in its delivery.
    But then, my message would have been less funny, wouldn't it?

    You should have noticed first that Lark is constantly attacking anybody who would dare to disagree with him, with an obnoxious, condescending attitude. Why did he mention Yu-Gi-Oh or pokemons then? What do you think for instance of sentences like: "This is what I was meaning that the posts in threads like these allow for confirmation about the average sorts of individuals which hold particular views and opinions. A lot of the time I see emotionally charged youngsters or adults in a late/long adolescence chasing their own bogeys, a little bit of information or smattering of understanding furnishing the rudiments of argument, and its not like the internet and a google search isnt great for that kind of thing."

    Do you think Coriolis, I and Nicodemus are "emotionally charged youngsters or adults in a late/long adolescence chasing their own bogeys"?

    Thus what I did wasn't a personal attack. It was only a way to get back to the real world, to the crude reality of mankind, even if this real world is not always as pleasant, delicate and joyful that we'd like.

    If Lark doesn't want to answer me, I think it's because he lacks the courage to face this "real world" and its consequences. The internet can be an illusion, so that's why I asked him what he has done for real. And I hope he will eventually take up the challenge.
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